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Public health issues related with the consumption of food obtained from genetically modified organisms

Paparini, A.ORCID: 0000-0002-1105-5184 and Romano-Spica, V. (2004) Public health issues related with the consumption of food obtained from genetically modified organisms. Biotechnology Annual Review, 10 . pp. 85-122.

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Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) are a fact of modern agriculture and a major field of discussion in biotechnology. As science incessantly achieves innovative and unexpected breakthroughs, new medical, political, ethical and religious debates arise over the production and consumption of transgenic organisms. Despite no described medical condition being directly associated with a diet including approved GM crops in large exposed populations such as 300,000,000 Americans and a billion Chinese, public opinion seems to look at this new technology with either growing concern or even disapproval. It is generally recognized that a high level of vigilance is necessary and highly desirable, but it should also be considered that GMOs are a promising new challenge for the III Millennium societies, with remarkable impact on many disciplines and fields related to biotechnology. To acquire a basic knowledge on GMO production, GM-food consumption, GMO interaction with humans and environment is of primary importance for risk assessment. It requires availability of clear data and results from rigorous experiments. This review will focus on public health risks related with a GMO-containing diet. The objective is to summarize state of the art research, provide fundamental technical information, point out problems and perspectives, and make available essential tools for further research. Are GMO based industries and GMO-derived foods safe to human health? Can we consider both social, ethical and public health issues by means of a constant and effective monitoring of the food chain and by a clear, informative labeling of the products? Which are the so far characterized or alleged hazards of GMOs? And, most importantly, are these hazards actual, potential or merely contrived? Several questions remain open; answers and solutions belong to science, to politics and to the personal opinion of each social subject.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publisher: Elsevier B.V.
Copyright: © 2004 Elsevier B.V.
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